I’ve always enjoyed the various Mario sports games over the years. My favorites being the Mario Golf series and Mario Strikers. So when the next Mario sports title was announced, I was quite excited. Not only did it have golf and soccer, but also other sports like tennis and baseball. So a compilation of past titles all compiled into one. With a new sport in the mix, Horse Racing. So is combining all these sports into one a good choice, or would it have been better to stick with the individual titles? There are certainly cases for both instances, so read on to find out my thoughts.
This isn’t the first time a compilation of sports were featured into one game. Aside from the Olympic titles, Mario Sports Mix on the Wii was one other title that featured more than one sport. Although, that title featured mostly sports that didn’t have their own individual game, like volleyball and hockey. With Mario Sports Superstars though, it features familiar sports that have already seen individual releases, with golf, tennis, baseball and soccer having more than one. So there’s some expectation with these sports over the previous sports compilation.
Mario Sports Superstars is a straightforward game. Simply pick the sport you want to play, and then the setting you want to play under and you’re good to go. A brief tutorial will play out when you first start out each sport in order to introduce you to its mechanics. Along with the five different sports are also amiibo functions, for cards and figures. For amiibo cards, scanning Mario Sports Superstars themed cards will grant you access to star characters that have improved stats over regular ones. A collectible card mode allows you to buy card packs with in-game currency or with amiibos, in order to earn random cards for your collection.
THE GOOD: As with any compilation, you’re gonna have a mix of good and bad based on preferences. I’ve always enjoyed Mario Golf and it still continues to play well enough in Mario Sports Superstars. It’s slightly different in a few spots in controls, but it was familiar for the most part. Mario Tennis was the same way.
I never played the Mario Baseball titles, so baseball was quite new to me. I can’t comment on whether or not it plays similar to the previous titles, but it was still enjoyable to play. It’s not full-on baseball simulator, but that’s to be expected. Though not too simple that the game felt like a mini-game. There’s some depth with the pitching since you can choose what you want to pitch and where you want to throw it. And choosing from the difference pitches will change up the timing.
Horse Racing is the overall new one to the mix, and it offers some neat ideas. It’s simple in its design but offers up some strategy with the use of stamina. Your horse will have stamina and while you can regain more from riding alongside others or through on-field drops, you’ll need to be wary of it so that you don’t lose too much before the final stretch. Along with the race mode, there’s a horse caring mode that lets you take care of your own horse and even improve them for racing use.
THE BAD: Unfortunately, Soccer is probably the sport I enjoyed the least. I think it’s decent still, but it plays different from the past Mario Strikers titles. It feels like they went for a more traditional soccer feel rather than the arcade gameplay that I enjoyed a lot. So I was disappointed in that.
Another difference I found is with all the familiar titles. Each sport feels like a dumbed down version of what it was in its own individual release. Not too surprising, but there’s quite a lack in extra features because of it. Online play is present, which is a nice plus. However, there’s not many extra modes available. Golf doesn’t have many courses, not even full 18-hole ones. Mario Tennis doesn’t have much mini-games or any of those crazy tennis courts seen in the past.
Much of my disappointment with Mario Sports Superstars is how traditional it chose to be rather than what made these Mario Sports games fun to begin with. At least for me, I enjoyed past sports titles because they were more on the arcade side of things. I think because these sports were on the more traditional side, they lacked the fun nature that previous titles provided because they were different from other choices out there.
OVERALL THOUGHTS: I still found some enjoyment with Mario Sports Superstars, despite it not being what I wanted it to be. It’s a decent time-waster as a on-the-go title and you have a nice varied list of sports to play. Online play is present too and helps extend the life of the game. If you’re a fan of previous sports titles like Mario Golf and Mario Tennis, then I think you might be disappointed with this release. It lacks in overall features and arcade feel, so it struggles to keep your attention for too long. It’s unfortunate that they had to sacrifice some of that quality in order to pack all these sports into one. It’s got the basics down at least, and if that’s all your looking for, then there is some fun to be had.